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Liquids, banned and restricted items

Different bottles of liquids.

We hate saying no but the safety of our passengers and crew always comes first. That’s why items that are likely to pose a risk to safety and security or can be used to cause harm are carefully restricted or banned altogether. We want you to be able to pack in confidence, so this guide should help you decide what to take and what to leave at home.

Can I take it with me?

Please consider the following guidelines closely and take the appropriate action when preparing for your flight. A few restrictions may vary by country and carrier. Always check local airport and airline rules before you fly, especially if you are transferring to another carrier at any point in your journey.

Rules for flights departing from US airports are available from the website of the US Transport Security Administration (TSA).

collapsedshowLiquids and foods

Most countries have restrictions on the types and quantity of liquid you may carry in your hand baggage through security at an airport. This includes gels, creams, pastes, and liquid foodstuffs such as jam and jelly. Solid foods are allowed on board but your destination may restrict the types of food allowed into the country (e.g. meat and fresh fruit and vegetables are prohibited by many countries).

Can I take it with me?
Item In hand/cabin baggage In checked/hold baggage


(e.g. water, milk, juice)

See guidance below Green tick.

Alcoholic beverages

(Maximum 70% alcohol by volume,

maximum 5L per person)

See guidance below Green tick.

Liquid foods

(e.g. soups, sauces, jams, cream)

See guidance below Green tick.

Dry foods

(e.g. sandwiches, biscuits, fruit, nuts)

Green tick. Green tick.
Baby milk, baby food See guidance below Green tick.
Liquid medicines See guidance below Green tick.

Liquids in hand baggage

When passing through airport security screening:

  • Each liquid you carry must be in its own container of no more than 100ml (3.4 ounces).
  • All liquids should be carried in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag of up to 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in) with a total capacity of up to a litre (approximately one quart).
  • You must be able to completely close the bag and be able to fit it in your hand baggage.
  • The bag of liquids must be taken out of other hand baggage to be screened separately.
  • In the UK and EU, the tasting or testing of liquids, aerosols or gels on the skin will no longer be a recognised method of screening. These items will now be screened using special equipment. You may be required to open the items.
  • You will need to check the current arrangements for airports outside the UK and EU.

Baby food and milk

If you are travelling with a baby or infant you are allowed to carry as much baby milk, powdered formula, sterilised water (must be in a baby bottle) and baby food as required for your trip, even if this exceeds the usual limit on liquids. These do not need to fit in the transparent bag but you should have them ready for inspection by airport security.

Liquid medicines

You are allowed to carry as much liquid medicine as required for your trip, even if this exceeds the usual limit on liquids, provided you have a supporting prescription or doctor’s note. The medicine does not need to fit in the transparent bag but you should have it ready for inspection by airport security.

Duty-free and airport purchases

Once you are through security you can buy duty-free liquids from airport shops and on board, provided that they have been sealed at the point of purchase into a security tamper evident bag with the receipt inside. You can take these items with you if you leave the airport and return later for your connecting flight, as long as they stay sealed within the security tamper evident bag with the receipt. However, you may be subject to further security checks if you are connecting flights later on in your journey.
You will need to check the arrangements for all the airports on your journey to be certain that anything you have in your hand baggage will be allowed through with you.




collapsedshowMedications and medical devices

We advise that you carry personal medications in your hand baggage wherever possible. Some types of medication and medical equipment may require a doctor’s note or prior approval by the airline. Please refer to our medical information for more help and advice.

Can I take it with me?
Item In hand/cabin baggage In checked/hold baggage
Tablets and capsules Green tick. Green tick.
Liquid medications

Green tick.As much as you require for the journey, with a prescription or doctor’s note

Green tick.
Epipens and hypodermic needles Green tick.With a doctor's note Green tick.
Asthma inhalers Green tick. Green tick.
Oxygen and portable oxygen concentrators Requires approval — contact us
Medical clearance is not required for nebulizers or CPAP machines.
If you would like to find out more, please contact us.


Find out more — contact us

Portable medical electronic devices
(e.g. defibrillators containing lithium batteries)


Requires approval — contact us
Small personal thermometers containing mercury Green tick.In a protective case Green tick.In a protective case

See our guidance on travelling if you have medical conditions

Check our guide to dangerous goods (pdf, 70kb, English only)

collapsedshowPersonal and electrical items

Electrical items are generally permitted in both your hand and checked baggage, although some items are restricted. Loose batteries are not permitted in checked baggage.

Can I take it with me?
Item In hand/cabin baggage In checked/hold baggage
Gas cartridge-powered hair curlers and straighteners

Green tick.One cartridge only, attached to the device; may not be used on board

Green tick.One cartridge only, attached to the device
Spare batteries for personal devices

Green tick.Kept in their original packaging or insulated and protected from contact with metal

Red cross.

Lithium batteries of 100–160Wh Check our guide to lithium batteries (pdf, 133kb, English only)

Requires approval — contact us

Electronic cigarettes Green tick.May not be used on board Green tick.
Disabling devices
(e.g. Tasers, mace, pepper spray)
Red cross. Red cross.

 Check our guide to dangerous goods (pdf, 70kb, English only)

collapsedshowSporting and recreational equipment

General sporting and recreational equipment is permitted in checked baggage with a number of conditions and restrictions. Some specialised equipment requires prior approval or packing in a specific way.

See our sporting goods page for more information on transporting sports equipment.

Can I take it with me?
Item In hand/cabin baggage In checked/hold baggage
Umbrellas and walking sticks
(excluding hiking poles)
Green tick. Green tick.
Hiking poles Red cross. Green tick.
Sporting rackets and sticks Red cross. Green tick.
Harpoons and spear guns Red cross.

Green tick.Must be unloaded with

spears packed separately

Bows and crossbows Red cross. Green tick.
Camping stoves and fuel containers Requires approval — contact us


(Containing non-flammable gas cylinders)

Requires approval — contact us
Avalanche rescue packs Requires approval — contact us

Heat producing items

(e.g. diving lamps and soldering irons)

Requires approval — contact us

Check our list of security prohibited items (pdf, 38kb, English only)

See our guidance on carrying sporting equipment

collapsedshowBattery-powered wheelchairs

We can accommodate all types of battery-powered wheelchairs. To help us prepare for the wheelchair, we ask that you provide us with advanced notification and follow some safety guidance before you travel.

See our guidance on travelling with a wheelchair

collapsedshowTools and sharp objects

Sharp, bladed or blunt instruments which are capable of being used to cause serious injury are not permitted in hand/cabin baggage. This includes loose razor blades, knives and scissors with blades of more than 6cm, drills, screwdrivers, chisels, saws, clubs, bats and bars.

Can I take it with me?
Item In hand/cabin baggage In checked/hold baggage
Knitting needles and crochet hooks Green tick. Green tick.
Small round ended/blunt scissors/knives
(blades measuring up to 6cm (2.4in))
Green tick. Green tick.
Larger scissors/knives (blades greater than 6cm (2.4in))
and sharp or pointed scissors/small knives
Red cross. Green tick.
Tweezers Green tick. Green tick.
Disposable and cartridge razors
(not loose blades)
Green tick. Green tick.

Other sharp and bladed objects such as razor blades, Stanley knives/box cutters and DIY tools

Red cross.  Green tick.

Blunt instruments such as bats, bars and DIY tools

Red cross.  Green tick.

Check our list of security prohibited items (pdf, 38kb, English only)

collapsedshowFlammable, explosive and chemical items

Most flammable, explosive, corrosive and toxic substances are completely prohibited from any flight, including acids, bleaches, peroxide, phosphorous, fertilizers, weed killers and insecticides.

Can I take it with me?
Item In hand/cabin baggage In checked/hold baggage

Cigarette lighters and safety matches

Red cross.

One box of safety matches or one lighter may be carried on your person but not in baggage

Red cross.

Paint, petrol, lighter refills, solvents, varnish etc.

Red cross. Red cross.

Firelighters, Chinese lanterns etc.

 Red cross.  Red cross.
Carbon dioxide (dry ice) Requires approval — contact us

Mercurial thermometers and barometers (carried by a representative of a government  weather bureau or similar agency)

Requires approval — contact us


Check our guide to dangerous goods (pdf, 70kb, English only)

collapsedshowChristmas and special occasions

If you are travelling with gifts, please ensure they are unwrapped. Security staff may need to open items to inspect them.

Can I take it with me?
Item In hand/cabin baggage In checked/hold baggage
Christmas crackers Red cross. See guidance below
Fireworks and pyrotechnics Red cross. Red cross.
Party poppers and sparklers Red cross. Red cross.

Christmas crackers

Crackers may be carried in your checked baggage on flights out of the UK providing they meet the following restrictions:

  • The crackers must be commercially manufactured (homemade crackers are not permitted).
  • Maximum two boxes per passenger in the manufacturer's original packaging.
  • The crackers must be for personal use only.

Crackers are not permitted in any bags out of the US; rules may vary in other countries.

collapsedshowFirearms and ammunition

All firearms (including replica and decommissioned) and ammunition are restricted under UK law and may be carried only with advanced notification and with the appropriate licences and documentation.

There is a limit of 5kg (11lb) of ammunition (cartridges for weapons, small arms) per person from the IATA Division 1.4S category (UN numbers 0012 and 0014) only. It should be for that person’s own use only and excludes ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles. Allowances for more than one passenger must not be combined in baggage.

If you are planning to make a booking on ba.com that includes a flight operated by an airline other than British Airways, please contact us before booking to check that the other airline is able to carry your firearm. You will not be able to take any firearms, including sporting rifles, on flights operated by Comair.

Each case containing firearms or ammunition is subject to a £50 charge at check-in each way to cover the cost of our specialist firearms and ammunition handling partner.

Notify us before you fly

You must call one of our contact centres at least 72 hours before your flight if you intend to travel with firearms or ammunition to ensure compliance with government embargoes and restrictions. If you fail to notify us you will not be able to travel with your equipment.

You’ll be asked to specify:

  • the quantity of firearms you wish to transport
  • the type (handgun, rifle, shotgun)
  • the make/model and calibre
  • the quantity (in weight) and calibre of ammunition


All passengers intending to travel with firearms or ammunition must ensure they have the required documentation and licences for them. This includes export/import licences and authorisation from local and national authorities.

Checking in

You must arrive at a check-in desk at least two hours before your flight to allow sufficient time to process the paperwork prior to clearing security. Groups or individuals travelling with 10 or more firearms or boxes of ammunition must allow at least three hours.

Transferring through London

If you are transferring through London airports you must allow a minimum connecting time of three hours between flights.

Preparing your firearms for travel

Firearms and ammunition will be accepted provided they are packed in an appropriate carriage case, or if this is not possible, packed securely inside a suitcase with your personal effects (except on flights from South Africa and Italy — see below). Please also ensure that:

  • Each firearm carried is accompanied by the appropriate firearms certificate.
  • The firearms are unloaded.
  • Ammunition is packed in either its original packaging or in a suitable container that prevents movement between shells or cartridges (i.e. loose ammunition is not permitted).
  • Bags with ammunition do not bear “explosives” labels.

Extra and overweight baggage charges will apply if any bag exceeds the weight limit or your total baggage including firearms and ammunition exceeds your free baggage allowance.

See our extra and overweight baggage charges

Packing requirements for South Africa and Italy

Firearms and ammunition are not allowed in hold luggage with general personal possessions on flights departing to and from South Africa and Italy. All firearms have to be packed separately from the ammunition and must be in a locked firearms case. The ammunition must be separate and in its own locked bag or container. In these instances you will not be charged an extra baggage fee if you exceed your free baggage allowance.

Other items

This page covers the items that customers ask us about most frequently but it’s not an exhaustive list. If your item is not covered here, please also review the following documents:

List of security prohibited items (pdf, 38kb, English only)

Guide to dangerous goods (pdf, 70kb, English only)

If you are in any doubt please contact us before booking.